Friday, December 23, Eyewitness News at 6

6:51 PM, Dec 23, 2011   |    comments
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<<opening for eyewitness news at six>>

HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US....I'M LEAH JOHNSON.
AND I'M LORRA LYNCH JONES...
FRANK MALLOY HAS THE NIGHT OFF.

IF YOU'RE ONE OF 18 MILLION AMERICANS WHO HAVEN'T STARTED HOLIDAY SHOPPING YET... YOU'RE IN LUCK.
MANY STORES WILL BE OPEN CHRISTMAS EVE TO CATER TO THAT 9-PERCENT OF SHOPPERS CHECKING OFF THEIR LAST MINUTE LISTS.

THOSE NUMBERS CAME FROM A SURVEY RELEASED BY THE NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION THIS WEEK... AND STORES WELCOME THE LATE RUSH.

<<nats- (4;42) "This is it. I love that."
OWNER OF KARATS AND KEEPSAKES JULIE EVANS EXCITEMENT...
(4:36) "This is cute.."
MORE THAN DOUBLES HER RELUCTANT CUSTOMER'S.
Chuck Franzago: (3:51) "I just want to get it over with."
CHUCK FRANZAGO IS HER TYPICAL LATE GIFT GIVING BUYER.
Julie Evans (9:40) "We see a lot of men. We see a lot of professional women who are very busy."
AND THEY'RE HELPING PUT THE SEASON OVER THE TOP.
nats- register
Juile Evans: (78:56) "I'm thrilled. Were over 2005 and 2006 levels. That was before the hit."
Lorra Lynch: "Traffic has picked-up for some retailers and some shoppers budgets, but for others the economy is still putting on the brakes."
(11:50) "I'm not used to looking up at empty shelves. It's been very depressing."
HELEN NOLAN AT FATHER GOOSE TOYS SAYS SHE COULDN'T STOCK HER STORE AS USUAL... KNOWING SHE'D SEE SLOW SALES.
Helen Nolan: (12:00) "All year, it's been very slow business. I presume all these toy places are having problems."
nats- register
AT CHI-CHESTERS ON VINEVILLE... RECIEPTS STAYED STEADY.... DESPITE CLOSING THEIR PHARMACY.
Yulynn Hightower: (20:15) "Just like they always have. Hopefully that's a good sign for the economy."
ALTHOUGH.. SOME LATE SHOPPERS SAY THEY'RE LOOKING FOR LIGHTER PRICE TAGS.
Brenda Burnett: (22:27) "It was a little less than it was last year."
BRENDA BURNETT SAYS SHE'S FOCUSED ON KEEPING HER BUDGET.
nats-
AND MEETING THE CHRISTMAS EVE STORE CLOSING DEADLINE.
nats-
>>

THE NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION REVISED ITS HOLIDAY SPENDING FORECAST THIS WEEK... SAYING THEY ORIGINALLY UNDERESTIMATED.

BASED ON GOOD NOVEMBER SALES... THEY BOOSTED THE PREDICTION TO ABOUT FOUR-PERCENT OVER LAST YEAR... OR MORE THAN 469-BILLION DOLLARS.

IF YOU'VE STILL HAVE GIFTS TO CROSS OF YOUR HOLIDAY SHOPPING LIST... LET OUR HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE HELP YOU OUT.

JUST CLIK ON THE ICON INSIDE THE CHECK IT OUT BOX.. ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMPAGE.
YOU'LL FIND CREATIVE GIFT IDEAS FOR THE PERSON WHO SEEMS TO HAVE EVERYTHING.
PLUS.... DISCOUNTS FROM SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE LOCAL STORES.
THAT'S ALL INSIDE OUR HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE AT 13 WMAZ DOT COM.

THE AMERICAN AUTO ASSOCIATION PREDICTS THAT NEARLY 92 MILLION AMERICANS WILL TRAVEL DURING THE HOLIDAYS.
THAT'S UP 1 POINT 4 PERCENT FROM LAST YEAR.
ABOUT TWO AND HALF MILLION OF THOSE TRAVELERS LIVE IN GEORGIA.
THIS MEANS BIG BUSINESS FOR SHUTTLE COMPANIES LIKE GROOME TRANSPORTATION.
AUSTIN LEWIS TALKED TO EMPLOYEES ABOUT ONE OF THEIR BUSIEST TIMES OF YEAR.

<< FOR MEGAN AND SHELLEY MOSS---THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF A LONG JOURNEY TO SEE THEIR MOTHER IN NEW JERSEY FOR CHRISTMAS---
Megan Moss, Albany: (1:36)This is the longest I get to see her so I am really really excited to see her.
A JOURNEY THAT'S A LITTLE EASIER BECAUSE THEY ARE TAKING A SHUTTLE TO THE AIRPORT---
Shelley Moss, Albany: (00:58) It's alot less stressful because we only drive an hour and a half here and then drive up to Atlanta on the shuttle so it's a lot easier on us.
AND THEY AREN'T THE ONLY ONES WHO THINK SO
GROOME TRANSPORTATION ON SHERATON DRIVE IN MACON IS SEEING MORE CUSTOMERS HIT THE ROAD WITH THEM---ESPECIALLY DURING THE HOLIDAYS.
Laura McConnell, Dir. Groome Transportation: I have looked at our passenger counts comparing them the last two years and this year we have definitely seen an increase.
AT GROOME---THEY USUALLY HEAD TO THE ATLANTA AIRPORT AT LEAST 27 TIMES A DAY. EACH VAN CARRIES UP TO 10 PEOPLE.
BUT NOW--THEY ARE LEAVING MUCH MORE OFTEN. AND THAT MEANS THEY NEED MORE DRIVERS AND MORE VANS.
Laura McConnell, Dir. Groome Transportation: (1:09) We sent three shuttles in one hour so we had 30 passengers travelling in one hour and over the holidays that happens frequently.
SOME TRAVELERS SAY THEY ARE GLAD TO HAVE GROOME TRANSPORTATION TAKE ON THE STRESS FOR THEM.
Fredda Barnes, Warner Robins: (1:10) Just sit back and leave the driving to them, it's a lot better.
Austin Lewis, Eyewitness News: McConnell says because there was greater demand this year ---they will be open for the first time on Christmas Day---running some shuttle to and from Atlanta. Austin Lewis 13 WMAZ Eyewitness News. >>

GROOME WOULD NOT RELEASE THEIR ACTUAL RIDERSHIP NUMBERS FOR TODAY... OR A TYPICAL DAY.
MCCONNELL SAYS HER BIGGEST TIP FOR TRAVELERS IS TO LEAVE MORE TIME FOR TRAVEL THAN YOU THINK YOU NEED -- BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT OBSTACLES YOU'LL FACE ON THE ROAD

OUT OF ONE HUNDRED TWENTY TWO THOUSAND PEOPLE WHO ATTEND RELIGIOUS SERVICES IN BIBB COUNTY... ONLY ABOUT ONE THOUSAND ATTEND A JEWISH TEMPLE .
THAT'S ACCORDING TO A NATIONAL STUDY DONE IN 2000.

THAT MEANS ANY JEWISH PERSON LIVING IN MACON... PROBABLY KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THE CHRISTMAS TRADITION.
BUT HOW DO FAMILIES COPE WITH BOTH FAITHS UNDER ONE ROOF?
ELEANOR LISSITZYN MET WITH ONE INTER-FAITH FAMILY TODAY... TO SEE HOW CHRISTMAS... AND HANNUKAH IMPACT THEIR LIVES.

<<
READING CHRISTMAS STORIES...
now dash away dash away dash away all!
BY MENORAH LIGHT.
IT'S A TYPICAL HOLIDAY SEASON FOR SHAW BULLINGTON AND HER TWIN BOYS.
"You explain to them, daddy's Jewish. And mommy's Christian."
AFTER SOME LONG TALKS... SHE SAYS SHE AND HER HUSBAND RICHARD DECIDED TO RAISE PORTER... CAMERON... AND THEIR NEW BABY... WITH BOTH FAITHS.
"We give them a lot of both (laughing) as you can tell by our home, it's over inundated with both."
(nats of jewish prayer)
IN THEIR HOME... SANTA CLAUS... SOLEMNLY SUPERVISES THE LIGHTING OF THE MENORAH.
BUT SHAW RECOGNIZES TO SOME ADULTS... THEIR DECISION SEEMS CONFUSING..
"Our Christian side of the family worries the Jewish side will take over, our Jewish side of the family worries Christmas will take over."
BUT TO THE KIDS... IT'S SIMPLE
Porter:"Because were Jewish and Christian and on Christmas it's Jesus' birthday."
Cameron: "It means everybody will be happy."
THEY DON'T mix THE TRADITIONS.
ON CHRISTMAS THEY OPEN PRESENTS AND CELEBRATE THE BIRTH OF CHRIST... WITH SHAW'S FAMILY
FOR HANNUKAH THEY JOIN RICHARD'S PARENTS FOR TRADITIONAL MEALS... AND LIGHTING THE MENORAH.
"I feel like God loves us all and he created us all in his image. I want our kids to see that more than one type of person makes the world go round."
AND SHE says WHEN THE KIDS LEAVE CHILDHOOD BEHIND... IT WON'T MATTER TO HER WHICH DECORATIONS THEY CHOOSE TO HANG IN THEIR OWN HOMES...
"As long as whichever path they choose it's whole hearted."
STD
>>

TONIGHT WILL MARK THE FOURTH OF HANNUKAH'S EIGHT NIGHTS.
THE JEWISH TRADITION CELEBRATES TWO MIRACLES.


FIRST... IT'S CELEBRATES A JEWISH MILITARY VICTORY OVER THE SYRIAN ARMY.
AND SECOND... A MIRACULOUS SUPPLY OF OIL TO LIGHT THE HOLY TEMPLE'S ENTERNAL FLAME... AFTER THE WAR WAS OVER.


ben gives three day forecast


THANKS BEN.. WE'LL TALK WITH YOU AGAIN IN JUST A FEW MINUTES.

IF YOU'RE LETTING YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT TAKE CARE OF DINNER TONIGHT.. YOU MAY WANT TO CHECK OUT THE HEALTH INSPECTOR'S LIST FIRST.
WE'RE RUNNING DOWN THE SCORES... RESTUARANT RATING IS NEXT.

AS WE GO TO BREAK.. HERE'S A LOOK AT TODAY'S AVERAGE GAS PRICE IN MACON ACCORDING TO TRIPLE A.
WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

YOU MAY BE A BIT BUSY PLANNING FOR A BIG HOLIDAY WEEKEND... AND COOKING COULD BE ONE LAST THING ON YOUR TO-DO LIST

BUT BEFORE YOU PLAN A DINNER OUT... YOU MAY WANT TO SEE HOW YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANTS DID... WHEN THE HEALTH INSPECTOR STOPPED BY.

WE'RE BACK IN BIBB COUNTY THIS WEEK...STARTING OFF WITH OUR LOWEST SCORES FIRST....

CHEDDAR'S CASUAL CAFE AT 40-40 RIVERSIDE DRIVE IN MACON... SCORED AN 86... THAT'S A B... COMING AFTER A 99... OR A... LAST TIME.
ACCORDING TO THE INSPECTION REPORT... TOXIC SUBSTANCES WERE NOT PROPERLY IDENTIFIED... STORED AND USED.
IT ALSO SAYS WIPING CLOTHS WERE NOT PROPERLY USED AND STORED.

DOWNTOWN GRILL AT 5-62 MULBERRY STREET IN MACON... GOT AN 80... THAT'S A B.... FOLLOWING AN 85... ANOTHER B... ON THE INSPECTION BEFORE.
THE INSPECTOR SAYS FOOD WAS NOT IN GOOD CONDITION... SAFE... AND UNADULTERATED.
IT ALSO SAYS CONTAMINATION WAS NOT PREVENTED DURING FOOD PREPARATION... AND STORAGE DISPLAY.

HUDDLE HOUSE AT 48-90 OCMULGEE EAST BOULEVARD IN MACON SCORED AN 86... A B... AFTER AN 82... ANOTHER B... LAST TIME.
THE INSPECTION REPORT SAYS IN-USE UTENSILS WERE NOT PROPERLY STORED AND USED AND WIPING CLOTHES WERE NOT PROPERLY STORED AND USED.

AND FINALLY... NU-WAY WEINERS AT 60-16 ZEBULON ROAD IN MACON... SCORED A 73... THAT'S A C... COMING AFTER AN 88... OR B... LAST TIME.
THE INSPECTION REPORT SAYS FOOD WAS NOT HELD AT THE PROPER COLD HOLDING TEMPLERATURE AND PROPER DATE MARKING WAS NOT FOLLOWED.

NOW FOR A LOOK AT THE TOP SCORES OF THE WEEK... AND THIS WEEK'S GODLEN SPATULA NOMINEES...

EL SOMBRERO MEXICAN RESTAURANT AT 6-10 NORTH AVENUE IN MACON SCORED A 97... AN "A"... AFTER A PERFECT 100... LAST TIME.

GOLDEN CORRAL AT 47-04 PRESIDENTIAL PARKWAY IN MACON WHIPPED UP TWO PERFECT 100'S ON THEIR LATEST INSPECTIONS.

AND 18-42 INN AT 353 COLLEGE STREET IN MACON... SERVED UP TWO PERFECT SCORES... ON THEIR LATEST TWO INSPECTIONS.

JOIN US AGAIN TONIGHT AS WE AVERAGE OUR NOMINEES PAST FIVE SCORES TO GIVE YOU THIS WEEK'S GOLDEN SPATULA WINNER.

FOR ALL YOUR BIBB AND HOUSTON COUNTY RESTAURANT RATINGS... GO TO OUR WEBSITE 13WMAZ DOT COM.
UNDER THE FEATURES TAB... YOU'LL SEE RESTAURANT RATINGS.

THE IRISH SAYS IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LUCK.... AND EVERYTHING TO DO WITH GOOD OLD FASHIONED HARD WORK.

YEA THE GUYS OVER IN SHAMROCK LAND HAVE PUT IN SOME LONG HOURS FOR MONTHS NOW...

THE ULTIMATE GOAL IS A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP.... BUT EVERYTIME THE IRISH SET FOOT ON THE COURT... THEY WANT TO SCORE A HUNDRED POINTS... IT SOUNDS IMPOSSIBLE BUT WE'LL SHOW YOU HOW THEY'VE BROKEN IT DOWN TO THE GET THE JOB DONE.

DOZENS OF MACON KIDS RODE AWAY ON A SLIGHTLY EARLY CHRISTMAS PRESENT THIS AFTERNOON.

PAUSE FOR NATS-SINGING

THE GROUP AT THE SECOND ANNUAL BIKE-O-RAMA ENJOYED A COUPLE OF CHRISTMAS CAROLS BEFORE 71 KIDS GOT THEIR NEW WHEELS.
JAMES TAYLOR ORGANIZES THE EVENT...WITH THE HELP OF DONATIONS FROM CHURCHES... FRIENDS.....AND OTHER GROUPS.
ORGANIZERS CHOSE CHILDREN BASED ON NEED... AND FAMILY CIRCUMSTANCES.
MOTHER TOMEKIA WILDER SAYS HER SON WAS SO EXCITED TO GET HIS NEW WHEELS... HE NEARLY LEFT HER IN THE DUST.

Tomekia Wilder, Macon: "The kids are happy and they're going to enjoy the bikes. My son just took off on his, so he might just drive himself home."

TAYLOR SAYS HE HOPES TO GIVE OUT EVEN MORE BIKES NEXT YEAR.

WE'RE TAKING A LOOK AT SOME PICTURES FROM OUR CHRISTMAS CUTIES GALLERY ON 13 WMAZ DOT COM.

THIS ONE SAYS.... SANTA'S LITTLE HELPER.
GETTING READY TO SEE SANTA FOR THE FIRST TIME.

AND THIS ONE SAYS.... YAY ITS CHRISTMAS TIME.

SEND US YOUR PHOTOS...LOOK FOR *PHOTO GALLERIES* UNDER FEATURES IN THE MENU BAR ACROSS THE TOP OF OUR HOMEPAGE...


THANKS FOR JOINING US.... WE'LL BE BACK TONIGHT AT 11.

BUT REMEMBER...THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ.COM !
THE EVENING NEWS IS UP NEXT.

HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.

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